I make my own yogurt at least once a week.
I buy yogurt culture from a health food store. These usually come in either 5 gram or 10 gram sachets that you would use either 2 cups or 4 cups or milk. I use skim milk to make the yogurt.
When you begin you have to heat the yogurt and then cool it back down. DON"T SKIP THIS STEP! It makes the yogurt set better.
I have found that adding a little skim milk powder makes the yogurt set up a little more firmly and stops the whey (as in little miss muffet - it is one type of protein in milk) separating from the gel that the casein (the other protein in milk) sets up.
When the yogurt is cooled again you just sprinkle in the culture sachet. I have an incubator but it is not necessary. If you don't have one, just put the yogurt in a bowl or several smaller serving size bowls into the stove and let sit overnight covered with a clean tea towel. You can't disturb it or the casein and whey will separate. The longer you let it sit the tangy-er it will be.
Once you make the yogurt once you can reuse the already made yogurt to make another batch. Reserve twp good table spoons of yogurt. Heat and cool milk as above. Add a little cool milk to the yogurt and mix to thin out then add this back into the cooled milk and let sit as above.
There are loads of books written about this - particularly older books from the 70s. If you have a used book store near check out the cookbook section for one on yogurt.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for taking the time to write such a complete reply! I bought for a EuroCuisine incubator (glass jars)and it should arrive soon...and I'm really looking forward to my first batch! I'll use your advice about the skim milk and skim powder.hanks again,
Definately! You can use heating pads for sure! it is just not necessary though. The heat makes the bacteria multiply quicker so you will find the process happens a little faster.
What I do is just put it on in the evening before I go to bend and it is done in the morning. Because it can be jostled to moved I find it is best to make it over night when everyone in my house is not going to be using the kitchen.
I have an electric oven, too. I turn the oven on to 350 when I put the milk on to scald. When it gets hot, the oven goes off. By the time the milk has cooled and the culture is in and it's ready to go, the oven has cooled enough to put it in, and it stays warm enough through the night to set the yogurt.
Another step I always do now is to put my thin-but-set yogurt into a colander lined with a non-linting dish towel. If you let it drain all day, you'll get yogurt cheese, but three hours and you'll get that wonderful rich Greek-style effect.
I don't use a yogurt maker, but I make yogurt at home the way my mom taught me. I think pretty much every Indian person makes yogurt this way, going by what I've seen in other people's homes.
Before you go to sleep, bring some whole milk to a simmer, then turn off the heat and let it cool to lukewarm. Mix in 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt (homemade or commerical, preferable natural and not thickened with gelatin). Mix well, then cover and place in a warm area overnight. My mom and I use the oven with the pilot light on, but I know some people keep it on the window sill and others keep it in the laundry room after having used the clothes dryer.
This makes a tangy yogurt, indian style, perfect for raita and tzatziki style sauces.
I used to use a yougurt maker, then got lazy. I use skim milk powder, hot water straight from the tap, a good dollop of active culture yougurt. They all go into a blender (otherwise the texture is granular, like the milk powder), then I dump them into a screw top jar. That goes into a cooler filled with hot water. I replace the hot water whenever it cools.
I'm going to try boogiebaby's idea of a sunny window sill, though.
I have a yogurt maker and it makes a simple process even easier. One thing is that many folks suggest using powdered milk to thicken it up. I find I have no problem with thickness but I think the powdered milk adds a artificial, weird flavor and it comes out much better without it. I do sometimes drain the yogurt for a hour to make it more dense and tangy.